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West African States to Discuss Troops for Guinea-Bissau


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says a group of West African nations will hold an emergency meeting next month to discuss sending troops to the troubled and impoverished nation of Guinea-Bissau.

Mr. Jonathan Wednesday said the Economic Community of West African States, a group of 15 nations with its own peacekeeping force, will meet in mid-September to discuss political turmoil in Guinea-Bissau. The Nigerian president and current ECOWAS chairman said West Africa has the capacity to provide the 600 troops that Guinea-Bissau's president has requested to help deal with instability there.

Prone to coups and revolts, the tiny nation has become a hub for hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of Latin American cocaine heading into Africa and Europe. Guinea-Bissau has a porous coastline and dozens of offshore islands that have facilitated the lucrative trade.

A number of political killings last year, including of the president, army chief and a presidential candidate, have been linked to drug trafficking. Diplomats fear the country's military has been co-opted by drug runners.

Earlier this month, the European Union said it will end its mission to help reform security forces in Guinea-Bissau, because of the country's disrespect for law and order. The EU said it will end the operation on September 30.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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